Fitness Tracker Best Practices

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How To Use Your Fitness Tracker

Only a few years ago it seemed advances in fitness technology were confined to the gym. Fancy new cable machines, vibrating plates, and shake weights seemed to typify the cutting edge of exercise tech. And while a good deal of incredible innovation continues in this regard, like the impact-free Zero Runner from Octane, a new kind of fitness gadget has taken the industry by storm.

Fitness Activity TrackersWe refer, of course, to fitness and activity trackers like the Fitbit or Polar Loop. These wearable devices, along with their app and website counterparts, are empowering individuals to take charge of their fitness, health, and weight-loss goals through the power of data. Indeed, the NPD Connected Intelligence Consumers and Wearables Report points out that one in 10 adult Americans now own a fitness tracker, and the market for such devices is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2019 according to IHS Technology.

However, fitness trackers by themselves are not enough to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Although these gadgets do provide a wealth of information with which to make informed decisions about your exercise routine and food choices, we wanted to share with you five best practices so that you can make the most of your new fitness tracker.

1. Set Your Goals

No matter how state-of-the-art the latest fitness wearables and apps may be, they are next to useless if you don’t know what you want to accomplish. Do you want to lose weight? Maintain your current weight? Run a six-minute mile? Run a marathon? Knowing your goals ahead of time is absolutely essential, and the more quantifiable and specific your goal is, the better.

Once you’ve determined your goals, choose the technology that will be most helpful to you in reaching this goal. Not all fitness trackers and mobile apps are created equal. For example, most activity monitors can tell you things like how many steps you’ve taken, how many miles you’ve ran or walked, and how many calories you’ve burned. However, many of these monitors only estimate caloric expenditure by inference, based on your height, weight, age, sex, and the amount of motion it detects. To get a more accurate estimate of how many calories you’ve burned, and to account for athletic activity that is not directly correlated to steps (for example weight lifting), you’ll want a tracker that can also monitor your heart rate like the Polar Loop Activity Tracker.

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2. Create a Baseline

So you’ve got a brand new fitness tracker. Your first instinct is to slap it on and hit the ground running with an intense workout. Resist the urge!

In order to determine the best course of action to meet your health and fitness goals, you first need a baseline to reference. Therefore, rather than trying to impress your activity tracker with how active you are, wear it for a week without changing anything about your normal daily routine. Don’t be discouraged if the numbers are a little disappointing. That’s OK. The first step in meeting your fitness goals is knowing where you’re starting from.

Polar Loop Activity Tracker3. Work at Your Own Pace

You know your goals. You have your baseline. Now it’s time to start! However, don’t try to bite off more than you can chew at the beginning. Most activity trackers come with a default initial goal, like walking 10,000 steps in one day. If your baseline shows you only walk 3,000 steps a day on average, then trying to hit 10,000 steps on day 1 may be too aggressive. Instead, work your way up by adding 500 steps each day until you hit that magic number.

Similarly, if your tracker includes a heart rate monitor, don’t try to hit your maximum heart rate for every minute of your workout. Working out too hard will leave you feeling spent and unwilling to exercise the next day, while taking it too easy will keep you from meeting your goal. In general, you should aim to train within 65-85% of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). This way you can work out for the longest amount of time and burn the most calories possible without burning yourself out.

4. Record and Review Everything

Self-monitoring your exercise has always been a key component of getting into shape. And while these activity trackers automate a lot of this for you, you cannot delegate all responsibility to your wristband. If your goal is weight-oriented, then recording the amount of calories you burn is not enough. You also need to record the amount of calories you consume. Most fitness wearables have a food diary built-in, but there are also stand-alone apps like MyFitnessPal that integrate with many of the top devices.

Furthermore, don’t be satisfied with simply checking your daily stats. For the best results, take advantage of some of the detailed analytics your fitness tracker can provide. Look at the charts and graphs to give you a picture of your progress over time, to reveal times of the day when you are excessively stationary, and to discover opportunities for getting more steps in or calories burned.

Check out our selection of top-of-the-line heart rate monitors!

5. Be Social

Training in isolation can be comforting for those of us who are embarrassed about their current health and fitness levels, but it can also make it easier to lose your motivation, or even cheat your results. With more and more websites and programs that deliver workout routines right to your desktop, it’s easier than ever to avoid human contact while you work out.

However, training with other people, sharing your progress, and having a coach are some of the best ways to keep you focused and honest. Luckily, many fitness trackers have social sharing elements baked in, allowing you to see how your progress compares to that of your friends and thereby motivate you to keep up the hard work. For example, the Fitbit app and website can display a leaderboard that ranks you and your friends in terms of how many steps you’ve taken in the past seven days, adding a competitive element to your training. Online programs like Vida Health Coach or RevUp pair you with personal coaches and other health professionals who can keep you motivated and provide you with personalized tips and advice.

Ready to take your workout to the next level? Then check out the selection of Polar heart rate monitors and activity trackers. Talk to one of our fitness professionals for some personalized tips on how to incorporate your activity tracker into your workout routine, and discover some of the best equipment to help you meet your goals.

Benefits of Heart Rate Training

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Ever wondered why people exercise with heart rate …and what exactly a heart rate monitor IS? This video answers those questions, showing how training with heart rate provides motivation to workout smarter, track your progress, get feedback and reach your personal fitness goals. Plus, we demonstrate what exactly a Polar training computer is and how it works. In this first half, were speaking with a busy mom – a mother of three with a full-time job – who’s trying to get back into shape and needs some motivation.


HealthStyles Exercise Equipment carries a variety of heart rate monitors. Stop by your local HealthStyles Showroom and talk to one of our fitness consultants to find out what Polar Heart Rate Monitor matches your fitness level and goals.

Give the Gift of Fitness!

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Are you looking for ideas for unique Christmas gifts?

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment has some great gifts for fitness enthusiasts in all price ranges!

Whether your gift is for an avid runner, a Cross-Fit or P90X junkie, or a friend or loved on who is trying to firm up or lose weight, here are just a few of the many possible gifts you can put under the tree for those important people in your life.

Why Use a Polar Heart Rate Monitor?

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Whether you’re taking a class with a friend, going on a weekend bike ride or running on your treadmill at home, with a heart rate watch, you can see exactly how much you’re doing and, even better, track your progress. Heart rate monitors keep you motivated and show you how well you’re doing, leaving you to focus on having fun!

Getting the most out of your training doesn’t always mean working faster or harder. The best way to improving and seeing results is to train at the right intensity. With a heart rate monitor, you can make sure you’re not over or under training, and make each session count. Use a heart rate watch as your wrist-based personal trainer, motivating you each and every time you train.

As the inventors of the first heart rate monitor for training over 30 years ago, Polar is truly the specialist in this field. Since then they have been leading this category, and the world’s top specialists have been working on the most accurate and intelligent training computers and heart rate based features.

What makes Polar truly unique is that their features give guidance based on your personal information, and individual heart rate and its variation. The state-of-the-art intelligence of Polar products can tell you how much, how often and how hard to train. This is why so many top athletes use Polar training computers. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from heart rate monitoring. Exercisers at all fitness levels can benefit from the motivational aspects of knowing how hard you are working based on your maximum heart rate, and seeing how your fitness level improves over time.

Watch this video for more information on the value of using a heart rate watch when you work out.

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment carries a variety of heart rate monitors. Stop by your local HealthStyles Showroom and talk to one of our fitness consultants to find out what Polar Heart Rate Monitor matches your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Heart Rate Training

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We get so many questions from people that say they work out regularly and don’t see the results they want. What are they doing wrong? What they are doing is exercising without being aware of their heart rate training zones. Heart rate training is so important in determining the intensity level needed to produce maximum results, whether you are trying to lose weight, improve your conditioning, rehabilitate from an injury or heart attack, or train for an athletic event. How do I make it work for me? The first step is to determine your maximum heart rate. There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your Max HR with some accuracy. It is called the “age-adjusted formula”. The age-adjusted Max HR formula can come in very handy when you’re not prepared to pay for the physician-supervised stress test. Continue reading

Benefits of Heart Rate Training Video – Part 2

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Ever wonder why people exercise with heart rate? This video shows how training with heart rate provides guidance to train at the right level and get the best workout for your body – and your goals. We also show how a Polar training computer makes exercise more fun, helping you to see that any sport or active pursuit can be your workout. In this second half, we’re speaking with a former college athlete turned busy lawyer and family man who’s looking for training guidance as he gears up for his first triathlon and gets back into shape.

Benefits of Heart Rate Training Video – Part 1

EmailShare

Ever wondered why people exercise with heart rate …and what exactly a Heart rate monitors IS? This video answers those questions, showing how training with heart rate provides motivation to workout smarter, track your progress, get feedback and reach your personal fitness goals. Plus, we demonstrate what exactly a Polar training computer is and how it works. In this first half, were speaking with a busy mom – a mother of three with a full-time job – who’s trying to get back into shape and needs some motivation.